Diversity at SSFS

SSFS All-School Diversity Statement:
Sandy Spring Friends School embraces the values of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. Quaker values are grounded in the belief that there is that of God in everyone. This belief – along with the continuous quest to seek the truth – is central to the understanding that diversity of thought, identity and experience is essential to academic excellence, personal growth and spiritual development. Our School is committed to fostering a diverse community of students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees and families who accept, appreciate and respect each individual’s uniqueness.


Clint Smith with SSFS students

On March 9th, SSFS was thrilled to welcome Clint Smith to our campus. In 2015, Clint Smith gave a very popular TED talk, "How to raise a black son in America," that we watched during the 2016 Upper School MLK assembly. Inspired by his work, a group of students suggested that we invite Clint Smith to speak to SSFS students in person, and we were very grateful that he was able to come speak to us at this Upper School assembly.

During this 70-minute assembly, Clint used spoken word and poetry to dive into issues related to social justice and the history of racial inequalities. He also talked about the dangers of silence, how our thoughts related to race, class, gender and sexual orientation shapes how we experience the world, how we can make a change. He concluded his presentation by reading several poems from his new book, Counting Descent.

Following this presentation, students formed small groups to process what they heard, and think about questions they'd like to ask Clint Smith. He then returned to the stage to take questions, and also met afterwards to meet and speak with students.

See Clint Smith's website for more information about his book, as well as links to other publications, videos, and events.

US International Assembly

Sandy Spring Friends School's curriculum cherishes the worth and dignity not only of each individual student, but of our students' cultures as well. These differences among us are celebrated daily in a number of pedagogical ways and manifested annually and publicly in the Upper School International Assembly. On Tuesday, February 7th, Sandy Spring Friends School was proud to host the 21st Annual Cross-Cultural Student Talent Showcase in the Performing Arts Center Theater. It was a wonderful and celebratory event, where upper school students displayed many different cultural talents, from contemporary Japanese and Chinese songs to traditional Arabic, Jewish and Tibetan music, from DJing, Hip-Hop dancing and Korean K-pop to American Blues and African American stepping, from the Great American Songbook to European classical violin and contemporary piano to Asian folk instruments, like the Guzheng and Erhu, plus a few other very special surprises, including an international fashion show of traditional and contemporary garb. For those unable to attend, this signature assembly streamed live and posted to the SSFS YouTube channel here. Additionally, a photo gallery is available online here, and many more photos are available for download via Vidigami.

MLK, Jr. Upper School Assembly

On Tuesday, January 17th several 8th graders joined the Upper School for a Martin Luther King Day assembly run by some of the Black Upper School students. The assembly addressed topics such as racial appropriation, discrimination, mass incarceration, civil rights movements, and personal experiences. Students performed original poems, skits, speeches, and raps. They also recited works from great authors like Langston Hughes. A powerful soundtrack and slideshow with pictures of the civil rights movement, Watts Riot, Black Lives Matter, and moments of self-love and appreciation accompanied the performances. A follow-up occurred on Thursday, January 19th during Upper School activity period when there were two different meetings: a Meeting for Worship in the PAC with queries about the assembly, and a Meeting for Learning in the Meeting House which will included a deeper conversation about the assembly. See photos from the assembly online here.

For the last several years, SSFS has been a proud participant in the Martin Luther King Day of Service. It is a time when our community comes to campus for a few hours to engage in a wide variety of service projects. It is a fun and meaningful family event! So that we can get a sense of how many people to expect, please RSVP online here.

After a hearty breakfast and engaging conversation, participants can choose from a wide assortment of activities, including opportunities to:

  • Create blankets for the Project Linus to benefit Children's National Hospital
  • Create homemade dog treats to benefit MD SPCA
  • Create Valentines for First Responders
  • Prepare casseroles for Shepherd's Table
  • Pack Smart Sacks for Manna Food
  • Participate in a social justice workshop

Schedule of Events:

10:00-10:45 - Have brunch and watch a short video on the Martin Luther King day of service
10:45-11:00 - Break into work stations
11:00-1:00 - Participate in Community Service Stations and Activities

Questions or offers to volunteer may be directed to Chanelle Broughton ( or Betsy Roush ( ). Many thanks to the MLK, Jr. Day of Service Planning Committee for helping organize this event.

Check out the national website for more information about the Day of Service:

The annual Upper School Clubs Assembly was held this past Thursday, September 15. This assembly is a showcase for student leaders to present their ideas and vision for student driven clubs. We have 23 student clubs this year that offer a wide range of interests, skills and opportunities. The Upper School encourages students to create clubs as a way to connect them with others who share a common interest, and as a way to develop their leadership skills. Students that have a passion, skill or interest in a topic or activity are encouraged to share this with others in the community. In addition to connecting with different members of the community, they also have an opportunity to hone their leadership skills as they schedule and organize meetings, set agendas and plan activities. Clubs may be centered on an activity such as dancing, singing or cycling. Other clubs focus on issues that resonate with them, like community service, diversity, and social justice. Some are serious and some are just for fun, but all can serve as an important opportunity to become more engaged, responsible and active in the SSFS Upper School Community. The week following the assembly there is an emphasis on signing up for clubs. However, students can join or start a club anytime during the year. There are no restrictions on how many clubs a student can sign up for (the only restriction is their own time). If a student is interested in starting a club, they should stop by the Dean of Students office for an application. See the 2016-17 clubs, student clerks, and faculty advisors here.

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